Grampians Operations Manager, John Maguire, said winter is the riskiest time of the year for fires in the home in Victoria with about 1000 house fires over winter each year.
“And sadly, most of these fires can be prevented,” he said.
“This includes chimney fires, which can cause significant amounts of damage to a home as we have seen recently in the district.”
Since the start of winter, CFA has attended a number of chimney fires in Avoca, Ararat and Crowlands.
“Chimneys and fire boxes need to be inspected and cleaned. Brick chimneys should be checked to make sure there are no cracks and metal flues need to be inspected for damage or rust,” Mr Maguire said.
“Chimney fires can quickly turn into house fires so the few minutes spent now could be one of the most important fire safety actions you take this winter.”
In May, crews also responded to a house fire in Flattely Street, Ararat which caused more than $200,000 damage. It was caused by a faulty heater.
Last weekend, a house was destroyed in St Arnaud after clothes that were being dried too close to a heater caught fire.
“The young family of four are lucky that no one was killed in the fire, however they have lost all their belongings and the house was destroyed,” Mr Maguire said.
“It is extremely important to dry your clothes at least a metre away from heaters and to ensure your heaters are maintained and checked properly.
“A little bit of preparation now could save your house.”
Top tips for being fire safe in your home this winter:
- Complete a simple fire safety check list at www.homefiresafety.com.au
- Plan and practise your home fire escape plan
- Check your electric blanket, heater and other electric appliances for broken or worn wiring
- Make sure your smoke alarm is working
- Use fire screens on open fires
- Put fires out and turn off heaters before going to bed
- Never leave cooking unattended